Blowout Week 62

The overworked and underpaid staff here in the Blowout newsroom are tasked with reporting recent articles of potential interest without editorializing. Every so often, however, a particularly bizarre claim cries out for rebuttal:

New York Times: Researchers Link Syrian Conflict to a Drought Made Worse by Climate Change

Drawing one of the strongest links yet between global warming and human conflict, researchers said Monday that an extreme drought in Syria between 2006 and 2009 was most likely due to climate change, and that the drought was a factor in the violent uprising that began there in 2011. The drought was the worst in the country in modern times, and in a study published Monday in Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences, the scientists laid the blame for it on a century-long trend toward warmer and drier conditions in the Eastern Mediterranean, rather than on natural climate variability. The researchers said this trend matched computer simulations of how the region responds to increases in greenhouse-gas emissions.

Below are the rainfall records for six GHCN stations in Syria. They show no sign of any “extreme drought in Syria between 2006 and 2009 …. the worst in the country in modern times”. Rainfall over the period was close to normal.

More stories below the fold on OPEC, the US running out of oil storage tanks, the EU and nuclear, less coal in China, more coal in Japan, tidal lagoon power in UK, how renewables are conquering the British climate and how to generate electricity from pee.

Quartz:  El Niño finally arrives

Just when everyone had pretty much written it off, the El Niño event that has been nearly a year in the offing finally emerged in February and could last through the spring and summer, the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration announced Thursday, March 5. This isn’t the blockbuster, 1998 repeat El Niño many anticipated when the first hints of an impending event emerged about a year ago. This El Niño has just crept across the official threshold, so it won’t be a strong event. “We’re basically declaring El Niño,” NOAA forecaster Michelle L’Heureux said. “It’s unfortunate we can’t declare a weak El Niño.”

Register-Guard:  US running out of oil storage tank capacity

For the past seven weeks, the United States has been producing and importing an average of 1 million more barrels of oil every day than it is consuming. That extra crude is flowing into storage tanks, especially at the country’s main trading hub in Cushing, Oklahoma, pushing U.S. supplies to their highest point in at least 80 years, the Energy Department reported last week. If this keeps up, storage tanks could approach their operational limits, known in the industry as “tank tops,” by mid-April and send the price of crude — and probably gasoline, too — plummeting. “The fact of the matter is we are running out of storage capacity in the U.S.,” Ed Morse, head of commodities research at Citibank, said at a recent symposium at the Council on Foreign Relations in New York.

Reuters:  OPEC production falls

OPEC’s oil supply has fallen this month as bad weather delayed exports from Iraq’s southern ports, a Reuters survey found on Friday, slowing an expansion of supplies in the group’s second-largest producer. The survey also found slightly higher output in Saudi Arabia, a sign that the largest producer in the Organization of the Petroleum Exporting Countries is sticking to its strategy of focusing on market share rather than cutting output. Still, actual OPEC supply has fallen in February to 29.92 million barrels per day (bpd) from a revised 30.27 million bpd in January, according to the survey based on shipping data and information from sources at oil companies, OPEC and consultants. The main reasons for the decline are involuntary – poor weather slowing Iraq’s exports and unrest in Libya.

Bloomberg:  Cheap Oil Isn’t Leading to Massive Oilpatch Layoffs. Yet

Since oil prices peaked last June at $107 a barrel, total employment in oil and gas extraction is actually up by about 2,000 jobs. At least so far, the sector doesn’t seem to be cutting back so much as leveling off. There will certainly be more layoffs to come, especially as rig counts continue to fall. But a few months into the oil crash, massive layoffs in the oil patch have yet to show up in a big way. Of course, the extraction sector doesn’t capture the services industry tied to drilling activities. Companies such as Halliburton, Baker Hughes, and Schlumberger have announced steep cuts, but a lot of those jobs are overseas. With oil prices showing recent signs of stabilizing, it’s unclear how severe the bloodletting will eventually get. In North Dakota, for example, jobs were still plentiful as of mid-January, according to local reports. And that was when oil was below $50 a barrel. It seems that many of the big employers in the Bakken are hoping to wait out the price drop, instead of laying off a bunch of people they’ll only have to rehire once prices go back up.

New York Times:  Senate Fails to Override Obama’s Keystone Pipeline Veto

The Senate on Wednesday failed to override President Obama’s veto of a bill that would have approved construction of the controversial Keystone XL oil pipeline. A bipartisan majority of senators were unable to reach the two-thirds vote required to undo a presidential veto. The vote was 62 to 37. Republicans used the debate on the vote to attack Mr. Obama for his years of delay in making a decision about the pipeline. “The president’s veto of the bipartisan Keystone bill represents a victory for partisanship and for powerful special interests,” said the Senate majority leader, Mitch McConnell, Republican of Kentucky. “The president’s veto of the bipartisan Keystone bill represents a defeat for jobs, infrastructure, and the middle class.”

RT:  China to slash coal consumption by 160mn tons in 5 years

China intends to cut coal consumption by 160 million tons by 2020, and up its use of non-fossil energy to 15 percent by then. China will reduce its coal consumption and move towards cleaner energy such as hydropower, nuclear, wind and solar, according to a 2015-2020 action plan, released by the Ministry of Industry and Information Technology (MIIT) and the Finance Ministry on Friday, Xinhua news agency reports. The country’s coal consumption fell 2.9 percent last year for the first time in 14 years as China is trying to diminish air pollution and to boost green energy output. Last year China declared a “war against pollution”, calling for tougher regulations over polluting industries and suggesting long-term planning with a focus on the promotion of green techniques. Since then the country has banned 7 million high-emission vehicles from the road, shut down 50,000 coal-fired furnaces, installed filtration equipment in power plants and factories, and added new sewage treatment plants. “We will strive for zero-growth in the consumption of coal in key areas of the country,” Premier Li Keqiang said in the report delivered to parliament on Thursday.

Carbon Counter:  Peak coal in China? not so fast

China’s coal consumption officially fell by 2.9% last year for the first time in 14 years. Is this evidence of “peak coal” in China as some are already claiming or a temporary blip? Officially China’s coal consumption declined massively in the late 1990s. However, this was only in the original statistical estimates. Coal consumption almost certainly did not decline at all, but was simply under-reported. So, can we take seriously claims that coal consumption in China has peaked or is about to? Almost certainly not. The peak coal thesis appears to rest on a single data point, and this data point rests largely on China’s industrial growth slowing massively. And who is going to bet that China’s economy continues to slump? But more importantly we must look to what China is still doing: building huge numbers of coal power plants. China opened 47.3 GW of new coal power plants last year. This is not the behaviour of a country that is going to peak coal use any time soon.

Wall Street Journal:  Japan to replace nuclear with coal

It’s been almost four years since the accident at the Fukushima Daiichi nuclear power plant led to all of Japan’s 48 reactors being idled. To make up for the shortfall created by the loss of what was once 30% of the country’s power output, utilities have stepped up their use of liquefied natural gas. But importing LNG has proven expensive and a global supply glut in the coal market has created an opportunity for them that is too good to pass up. Several utilities including Kansai Electric Power Co. and Osaka Gas Co. have officially announced plans to build new, big coal-powered stations in the past month. Tokyo Electric Power Co. also has a plan to replace six gigawatt oil power stations on Tokyo Bay with new coal power stations.

Reuters : Japan court battles could delay nuclear restarts further

Judges are now considering injunctions that could halt the restarts and indefinitely extend the countrywide shutdown of Japan’s 48 reactors that followed Fukushima, posing a threat to power companies already surviving on government support. “Japan’s courts have always been hesitant to properly check the state and its legislative process,” but the shift in public opinion against nuclear power may have turned some judges in favour of residents, said Hiroshi Segi, a former judge turned critic of Japan’s judicial system. The court decisions, which might come this month – four years after the earthquake and tsunami that knocked out the Fukushima reactors – could mean months, even years of delays and hundreds of millions of dollars in losses for Kansai Electric Power and Kyushu Electric Power.

Recharge News:  New curtailment rules cast pall over Japanese renewables industry

Under rules introduced at the launch of Japan’s feed-in tariff system in July 2012, the nation’s utilities were only allowed to refuse to accept electricity for up to 30 days per year from any solar or wind project above 500kW in size. But under new regulations recently introduced by the Ministry of Economy, Trade and Industry (METI), power companies can curtail renewables-generated electricity for up to 360 hours per year before they have to compensate project owners. More ominously, specially designated utilities will be permitted under the new rules to indefinitely curtail renewables-generated electricity without compensating project owners if their grid networks become constrained by an influx of excess capacity. The new rules stem from a series of grid-access suspensions announced last autumn by regional utilities Kyushu Electric, Tohoku Electric, Hokkaido Electric, Shikoku Electric and Okinawa Electric. The utilities said they temporarily halted grid-access applications from renewables developers because a flood of solar introduced since the launch of Japan’s FIT system had destabilised their strained grid networks.

Guardian:  European countries push for EU nuclear package

The UK and seven other countries last month called for a new package of nuclear aid funding and support, in a letter sent to the commission ahead of the EU’s energy union policy launch. The letter, seen by the Guardian, calls for new EU financing mechanisms for nuclear as a low carbon technology, and research and innovation initiatives to deal with the costly and unresolved issues of nuclear waste and decommissioning. “It is vital that the forthcoming communication on an Energy Union reaffirms the important role that nuclear power, together with renewables, other low carbon technologies, and energy efficiency improvements, can potentially play in Europe,” the message says. The letter to the commission’s vice president Sefkovic and climate commissioner Miguel Cañete was signed by the Romanian energy minister, Andrei Gerea, on behalf of ministers in seven other countries including the UK, France, Poland, the Czech Republic, Lithuania, Slovenia and Slovakia.

Reuters:  Germany says using tax money for nuclear power ‘out of the question’

Using taxpayers’ money to fund nuclear power is “absolutely out of the question”, German Economy Minister Sigmar Gabriel said on Thursday, in an apparent swipe at British plans to finance new atomic generation. Gabriel was arriving for talks in Brussels on the European Commission’s proposal for an energy union, which would deepen cross-border cooperation on energy across the 28-member EU. Germany’s decision to phase out nuclear power sets it at odds with plans by Britain and France to invest in the emissions-free fuel source, which they say plays a major role in combating climate change. Germany has instead focused on renewable energy, such as wind and solar. “There are countries in the EU that want to support nuclear power with tax money. We think that is absolutely out of the question,” Gabriel said.

Energy Global:  EU28 to meet its 2020 emissions targets

According to the latest Member State projections, the EU28 will overachieve its 2020 emission reduction target for the sectors not covered by the EU ETS by 1%. However, only 15 Member States are expected to reach their commitments with the existing policies and measures, while 13 are unlikely to be able to meet their commitments unless additional measures are implemented. With respect to the renewable energy target, the European Commission’s 2013 Progress Report warns that more effort will be needed to sustain high levels of investment in renewable energy projects. Compared with the National Renewable Energy Action Plans prepared by Member States, projections indicate that only 50% of total wind generation planned in 2020 might actually be produced. By contrast, projections for electricity generation from photovoltaics are above planned levels. In its progress report, the European Commission also states that fundamental changes to the support schemes in some Member States have raised the regulatory risk for investors. This has added to an already difficult financing environment. The Commission also concludes that the removal of planning and licensing administrative barriers is not occurring fast enough.

Moscow Times:  Ukraine has prepaid gas for only two days – and that was four days ago

President Vladimir Putin said on Wednesday that he did not want a gas conflict with Ukraine similar to ones that took place in the past, and that Kiev only had enough pre-paid gas from Russia to last two days. Moscow cut off gas supplies to Kiev from June until December in a dispute over pricing and unpaid bills that marked the third such stoppage in a decade, after price rows in 2006 and 2009. Previous “gas wars” have led to supply disruptions to Europe, which gets around a third of its gas from Russia, and 40 percent of this via Ukraine. Gas supplies to Europe have been unaffected by the latest row, but Ukraine’s chaotic finances have left it struggling to keep up with regular pre-payment for its gas from Russia’s state-controlled producer Gazprom. “(There is) pre-paid gas for exactly two days, no action has been taken yet,” Putin told a governmental meeting on Wednesday. “I would ask the prime minister and Gazprom to pay more attention to this, given that no one needs conflicts similar to those in previous years. We are ready to strictly fulfil (our) contractual obligations, but under pre-payment only.”

Telegraph:  Russian billionaire given seven days to save North Sea gas deal

The Government has given Russian billionaire Mikhail Fridman seven days to explain why he should not be forced to sell North Sea gas assets. Ed Davey, the Energy Secretary, has written to Mr Fridman’s investment fund, LetterOne, saying he would “be willing to consider further representations” from the tycoon. Mr Fridman gained control of the UK fields on Monday as part of a €5bn (£3.6bn) deal to buy the oil and gas division of Germany’s RWE. The Government is concerned production at the fields could be halted if the West imposes more sanctions on Russia over Ukraine, and it therefore wants them sold to a third party. “Protecting these assets is the Secretary of State’s priority,” the Government said on Wednesday night.

ICIS:  UK electricity market given clean bill of health by CMA

The Competition and Markets Authority (CMA) has cleared the UK’s big six energy firms of anti-competitive behaviour on the country’s wholesale electricity market and confirmed that the wholesale gas market should remain outside the scope of its probe into competition in the energy sector. According to the initial findings of CMA’s major energy market inquiry published on Wednesday the big six “are not gaining a competitive advantage in terms of product availability” at the UK power market in spite of long-running concerns over a perceived lack of liquidity. The initial findings mean the forced break-up of any vertically integrated company, which although extreme, had been considered a realistic prospect by some in the industry – is now virtually certain not to happen.

Guardian:  Renewable energy is conquering quirky nature of Britain’s climate

One big drawback to acceptance of renewables has been opponents drawing attention to the quixotic nature of British weather causing output to vary; but even that problem is being conquered. Individual solar systems for homes can now come with domestic water heating devices and batteries to run the house when the sun goes down. Much larger district batteries, storing energy from surplus wind and solar during the day, are providing power in the evening peak. Energy policies seem to have lagged behind the exciting possibilities this holds out for Britain’s energy supply, contrasting sharply with enthusiasm for the stagnant nuclear industry. But clever engineering, smoothing out the peaks and troughs of renewable power, looks like making the nuclear industry redundant before a new station can be built.

BBC News:  World’s first tidal lagoon power plants unveiled in UK

The six lagoons – four in Wales and one each in Somerset and Cumbria – will capture incoming and outgoing tides behind giant sea walls, and use the weight of the water to power turbines. A £1bn Swansea scheme, said to be able to produce energy for 155,000 homes, is already in the planning system. The cost of generating power from the Swansea project will be very high, but the firm behind the plan says subsequent lagoons will be able to produce electricity much more cheaply. It says the series of six lagoons could generate 8% of the UK’s electricity for an investment of £30bn. As well as Swansea, the proposed lagoon sites are Cardiff, Newport, and Colwyn Bay in Wales; Bridgwater in Somerset; and West Cumbria. Each will require engineering on a grand scale. In Swansea, the sea wall to contain the new lagoon will stretch more than five miles and reach more than two miles out to sea. The Cardiff lagoon could include up to 90 turbines set in a 14-mile (22km) breakwater around Cardiff Bay and could generate power for about 14 hours each day. A planning application for the project is expected in 2017. If approved, it could be generating power by 2022. Energy Secretary Ed Davey says he wants to back the project.

EurActiv:  Greenpeace to sue EU over Hinkley

A German energy cooperative will take legal action against the European Commission for approving state aid for a £16 billion (€22 billion) nuclear power plant in Britain, it said on Wednesday (4 March), arguing it threatens to distort competition. “Highly subsided nuclear power from this plant will noticeably distort European competitiveness,” said Soenke Tangermann, managing director of Greenpeace Energy, which describes itself as Germany’s largest national independent energy cooperative. Tangermann said it would affect prices at the power exchange in Germany, and could also set a precedent. “This effect will have economic disadvantages for committed green power providers like us,” he said in a statement. “Unlike Prime Minister David Cameron claims, a multi-billion tax gift for the new reactor at Hinkley Point is not just a purely British affair,” Tangermann said.

Guardian:  University installs prototype ‘pee power’ toilet

A prototype toilet has been launched on a UK university campus to prove that urine can generate electricity, and show its potential for helping to light cubicles in international refugee camps. Students and staff at the Bristol-based University of the West of England are being asked to use the working urinal to feed microbial fuel cell (MFC) stacks that generate electricity to power indoor lighting. “We have already proved that this way of generating electricity works,” said research lead Professor Ioannis Ieropoulos, director of the Bristol BioEnergy Centre, which in 2013 demonstrated MCF stacks generating enough electricity to power a phone. “The project with Oxfam could have a huge impact in refugee camps.”

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39 Responses to Blowout Week 62

  1. Jamie says:

    I’m no hydrologist but isn’t it likely that drought conditions in a country like Syria aren’t necessarily defined by the quantity of rainfall on the country’s cities? You seem to be suggesting that the drought is imagined but a bit of googling suggests that it was very real.

    • jacobress says:

      Droughts are indeed very real in the arid Middle East, and also very normal and frequent. Nothing unusual about it, no need to invoke AGW.

  2. Hi,

    while I like blow-out week, especially with regard to energy news, that “rebbutal” of PNAS paper is not very funny. Actually, it is not funny at all. I wonder if you bothered to read, at least the absctract…

    a) drought is *not* defined by precipitation per se, but by a combination of precipitation AND temperatures AND soil moisture. (see the graph of mean surface temps ANS PDSI values for the Fertile Crescent HERE)

    b) the most intense drought was not in the whole Syria, but in the “Fertile Crescent”, which is the nothern part of Syria. (see previous link)

    c) winter precipitation is most important than annual mean for water accumulation and it shows downward trend, even though annual mean precip. also shows long-term decline trend.

    d) the PNAS study is not the first pee-reviewed study to show this link. This this NOAA study (Hoerling et a., 2011)

    Please, if you want to make a real rebuttal, make it more seriously in the future.



    • Sorry for the typos, I was too fast…

      • Hivemind says:

        But the typos tell us a lot about the quality of your work. For instance “pee reviewed”. The normal use is “pal reviewed”, it shows the quality of independent thinking that goes into it.

  3. Sam Taylor says:

    So are we to assume that the FAO are telling porkies when they talk about drought relief in Syria?

    And that when EMDAT list the 2009 drought as the worst natural disaster to befall Syria in the last century they’re presumably just making things up?

    Credibility is easily lost, Roger. Do be careful.

    • JerryC says:

      Yes, the conventional wisdom is that 2006-2009 is the most severe drought ever in Syria. That’s acknowledged in the post. I don’t see anything wrong with noting that the rainfall records don’t necessarily support that contention.

      Maybe the rainfall records just need to be homogenized, eh?

  4. And here is another study regarding Syria, from 2014:

    As in other Arab countries, the uprising in Syria was triggered by a series of social,
    economic and political factors, including, in this case, growing poverty caused by
    rapid economic liberalization and the cancellation of state subsidies after 2005, a
    growing rural–urban divide, widespread corruption, rising unemployment, the
    effects of a severe drought between 2006 and 2010 and a lack of political freedom.
    More recently, media and analysts have also suggested that climate change plays an
    indirect role in the Arab Spring and the Syrian uprising

    The Role of Drought and Climate Changevin the Syrian Uprising: Untangling theTriggers of the Revolution



    • jacobress says:

      Well, there was also Saudi Arabia and Turkish intervention, with financing and arming of opposition groups and fomenting the upraising, with passive encouragement by the US. Probably also caused by Global Warming.

    • Euan Mearns says:

      More recently, media and analysts have also suggested that climate change plays an indirect role in the Arab Spring and the Syrian uprising

      My narrative tucked away in the back of my mind runs rather different. 5 fold increase in oil and energy price knocked on to food prices and caused widespread recession in Europe. Europe could no longer afford to send the world’s most expensive food to N Africa and country’s like Egypt – hit by its own peak oil, could no longer afford to pay for the world’s most expensive food, despite the high oil and gas prices they were enjoying.

      The situation is made much worse by Green energy policies where it was considered a good idea to convert food destined for Syria to ethanol to stick in the tank of an SUV being driven by Al Gore.

      Arab Spring began in Tunisia, spread to Egypt, Libya and then Syria. As others point out there are deeper roots in Israel / hollocost WWII, Kuwait / Iraq. Drawing of straight national boundaries in the sand post WW1. Population explosion in N Africa and Middle East, inequality. Al Queada. Iraq – Kuwait and OPEC quota violations. Kuwait stealing oil from Iraq – Gulf War I and II.

      And then ISIS springing up out of nothing a few months ago. And we are expected by some to believe that climate change has played a central role in all this. NY tImes joins the legions of junk red tops.

      • Euan,

        I totally agree on the role of peak oil ( and food prices) and misguided (supossedly?) green policies as well. The thing is that it would be very unfortunate, and in my opinion, not correct, to exclude antropogenic climate climate change out of the equation.

        Climate change is “just” another global stressor, that shows us how unsustainable our society is. The same with peak oil, population growth, etc. …



        • Hivemind says:

          “antropogenic climate climate change” – the thing is that, without any evidence (except for that manufactured by well-meaning stooges on the far left), CAGW is really just another religion. Complete with belief in false gods, a system of orthodoxy, a priesthood to indoctrinate the followers in that orthodoxy and a system of punishment for those that break the orthodoxy.

          What you are saying, in essence, is that the world is going to hell in a hand basket.

      • Ralph says:

        The one factor I haven’t seen mentioned here, is that of population increase – both indigenous (high birth rate) and by net migration, primarily Sunni refugees from the disaster that was the US/UK invasion of Iraq. This , combined with the drought, economic , social, ethnic, religious and political factors lead to too many mouths and not enough food.

        End result – mass demonstrations , violent repression, even more violent revolution, massive influx of arms, mostly going to religious fanatics lead by psychopaths indoctrinated since infancy, and descent into bloodbath.

        • A population explosion is a far more likely cause of Syria’s problems than drought:

          • Roger,

            Authors of the PNAS study dont claim climate change is the only factor, not even the main factor, but a “contributing” factor.

            Moreover, fast population growth is related to faster growth of GHGs emissions (and well, peak oil, or more broadly, resource depletion, as well).

            So you cannot retionally point out to population growth and/or oil/food prices, while ignoring climate change at the same time.

            Connecting the dots is essential.

            But to we want the simple anwer for the problems in Syria? Here it is: Humans.



          • So you cannot retionally point out to population growth and/or oil/food prices, while ignoring climate change at the same time.

            You certainly couldn’t ignore climate change if the climate in Syria had changed significantly over the last 50 or 100 years, but according to observations it hasn’t.

  5. Willem Post says:

    This Middle East business started with deposing Mossadeq and installing the Shah, or even earlier, by establishing Israel over the objection of people who had already been living there for about 3000 years.

    By hook and crook, Sadam had to be deposed, after he caught Kuwait drilling horizontally into Iraq’s oil field, and he marched into Kuwait to put a stop to it.

    Israel has a divide and weaken strategy of its neighbors, and woe to any of them that attack.

    Egypt had droughts 3000 years ago, due to climate change that had nothing to do with CO2.

    The Middle East will become an increasingly bigger mess, because the zeal of ISIS will live on for a looooong time.

  6. jacobress says:

    All we need is a few windmills in Syria and the mess will straighten up.

  7. From the NYT article:

    Drawing one of the strongest links yet between global warming and human conflict, researchers said Monday that an extreme drought in Syria between 2006 and 2009 was most likely due to climate change, and that the drought was a factor in the violent uprising that began there in 2011.

    With the thinly-veiled implication of course being that climate change was at least partially responsible for the rise of ISIS.

    But the Syrian drought isn’t visible in the rainfall records, and the Damascus record shows that 2006-2009 temperatures were no higher than they were in the 1950s and 1960s:

    The CRU PDSI index for Syria and the surrounding area also shows no evidence for an “extreme” drought between 2006 and 2009. The index values for this area are 2006 = -0.41, 2007 = -0.54, 2008 = -2.28 and 2009 = -1.92, yielding an average PDSI of -1.29 in these four years. PDSI values between -1 and -2 define a “mild” drought. The -2.28 value in 2008 defines a “moderate” drought.

    There is also no evidence linking man-made CO2 emissions to droughts. There’s not even any evidence that droughts are on the increase. The IPCC admits this in the AR5, and acknowledges that it got in wrong when it claimed there was such an increase in the AR4.

    “In summary, the current assessment concludes that there is not enough evidence at present to suggest more than low confidence in a global-scale observed trend in drought or dryness (lack of rainfall) since the middle of the 20th century due to lack of direct observations, geographical inconsistencies in the trends, and dependencies of inferred trends on the index choice. Based on updated studies, AR4 conclusions regarding global increasing trends in drought since the 1970s were probably overstated.

    Clearly what we have here is yet another attempt to blame anything and everything bad that happens on AGW, no matter how flawed the logic or how contradictory the observations. Roger Pielke Jr. calls this “zombie science”. I call it a complete corruption of the scientific process.

    • Sam Taylor says:

      A higher resolution study shows that around 50% of Syria had a PDSI of approaching -3 across much of the surface area of the country, which likely led to the large migration of people into the cities and helped spark the unrest:

      For all your harrumphing about whether or not climate change is to blame, I feel you’re rather missing the wood for the trees. Also you could at least quote the entire paragraph from AR5, with the following sentence:

      ” However, this masks important regional changes and, for example, the frequency and intensity of drought have likely increased in the Mediterranean and West Africa and likely decreased in central North America and northwest Australia since 1950.” Drought is, after all, a regional phenomenon, not a global one.

      • Okay, quote the entire paragraph. What proof is there that CO2 has caused increased drought in the Mediterranean? (If indeed it has increased. “Likely” as I recollect means a 67% probability.)

        • Have you read the paper Roger, or just the NYT article? I believe your answers are in the literature, if you’re sufficiently sceptical to go check of course.

    • Willem Post says:


      The main reason this deception is practiced is to keep the RE pot boiling. It is not directed as us, but at the vastly ignorant masses. More and more scientist are becoming upset at the way IPCC has bent its dubious conclusions, which, sometimes, after exposure, get owned up to, but the first impressions stick in the minds of the ignorant electorate.

    • Javier says:

      In arid and semi-arid regions you might get a lot of rain but it might all fall in a very short period of time and at the wrong season so you can have a lot of rainfall and terrible drought on the same year. The distribution is everything.

      On the other part, there is nothing new about climate change brewing human conflict. There is compelling evidence that the collapse of the late bronze-age empires was due to a migration by the Sea People brought about by drought conditions around the Black Sea area, that the barbarian migrations were set up by drought conditions in the Huns area, Northeast of the Caspian sea, and that the Mogol invasion of China was in part due to a power concentration into the hands of Genghis Khan during a period of draught conditions in Mongolia.

      There is nothing in all this that indicates that climate change is human caused, only that climate change brings problems. I might add that those examples that I mention, that you can google, took place during periods of climate cooling, not warming, as cold conditions are usually more favourable to draughts than warm conditions.

  8. Smokey says:

    You can really see the talking points in the mainstream liberal media! They are a bunch of like-minded parrots. Their Narrative is that ‘climate change’ is the cause of everything bad.

    This is how they propagandize the population. Along with the dumbing-down from the .edu establishment, it’s surprising that there are still folks who can think for themselves.

    That’s due to the internet. So the next goal of the censors is “Net Neutrality’. Then the job will be about 97% complete. The ring will be firmly in the nose of the populace, and the government will lead them wherever it wants.

    What’s the answer? Hell if I know.

    • Willem Post says:

      Of every thing bad, and that there will be suffering people, and that they need government programs to ease their suffering.

  9. A C Osborn says:

    Have any of the posters looked at the Wiki history of drought in Syria?
    It shows it as a long term historical problem.
    This article explains how they have been trying to control water use.
    And there is this paper
    that shows that there have been droughts every other for the last 50 years.
    Or this one
    that shows Government mismangement of water resources had more to with the drought than CO2.

  10. Lars says:

    “A German energy cooperative will take legal action against the European Commission for approving state aid for a £16 billion (€22 billion) nuclear power plant in Britain, it said on Wednesday (4 March), arguing it threatens to distort competition. “Highly subsided nuclear power from this plant will noticeably distort European competitiveness,” said Soenke Tangermann, managing director of Greenpeace Energy…”

    Hahaha, so German solar and wind aren`t subsidized at all then? A good example of the insanely hypocritical green movement. “Distort European competitiveness”. Oh my God! Perhaps the British government should sue Germany for its subsidies to wind and solar farms? Better yet, you leave the EU.
    Of course, subsidies are okay if they support the Greenie`s preferred methods of generating energy, otherwise they are labeled as “distortive”. What a mess.

  11. Jacob says:

    If there was a terrible drought in Syria in 2005-2008, why did the civil war start in 2011, and ISIS in 2014? Do climate models show that there needs to be a lag of a few years between the cause and effect?

    Maybe global warming can explain WW1? It seems that no one could find a logical cause for WW1.

    • Unlike Syria the drought in Chile is confirmed by observations:

      Gradually decreasing rainfall in Chile is unquestionably a product of climate change, but the fact that it’s been gradually decreasing for 150 years pretty much excludes CO2 as the cause.

    • Euan Mearns says:

      As an aside, Chile is only S American member of the OECD. OECD countries do not get driven to civil war by ethnic, sectarian, tribal and inequality divides catalysed by climate change. They hold elections instead.

      • Ralph says:

        Do I need to point out that Pinochet came to power in Chile by violent revolution orchestrated by the USA and overthrowing and murdering the democratically elected and populist incumbent?

        I have never read such rubbish.

        • Roger Andrews says:

          Having lived and worked in Chile during the Pinochet regime I think you need to do a fact check. I suggest you start with Nathaniel Davis’s book “The Last Two Years of Salvador Allende.” Davis was US Ambassador to Chile at the time and gives a balanced account of what actually happened.

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